For a series that was as popular as ever in 2007-08, House had a pretty controversial season. Many of the show's fans weren't happy with the half-season competition to find new team members for House (Hugh Laurie), as the result was the almost complete sidelining of Chase (Jesse Spencer) and Cameron (Jennifer Morrison). Watching the producers trying to find excuses for them to show up every week was almost painful. There wasn't much Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) either until the season climax, which found the two best friends on the outs after House's carousing indirectly led to the death of Wilson's girlfriend in a bus crash. The prospect of a Wilson/House rupture was unwelcome news for those who have always regarded this relationship as the key one on the show, and the only significant one in House's life.
Tonight's season premiere (Fox, 8 PM) picks up several weeks after the tragedy, as Wilson returns from his bereavement leave to announce he's resigning from the hospital. House, still guilt-stricken but characteristically unable to say so, tries to talk his friend out of leaving. The major case of the week involves someone sure to push House's buttons: an assistant to a feminist leader, whose plight appears especially interesting to the doctor we're apparently still calling Thirteen (Olivia Wilde). A miserable House means good times ahead for all of us.
The Biggest Loser: Families (NBC, 8 PM): There's a lot of bloat associated with The Biggest Loser, but it has nothing to do with the players. The decision to extend this deservedly inspirational show to two hours a week has simply not worked well, but who am I to question the acumen of the fourth-place network? Coming on the heels of the first partner edition earlier this year, the new season will team up four husbands and wives, and four parents and children.
Lincoln Heights (ABC Family, 8 PM): The third season begins with Cassie and Charles being taken hostage after a break-in at Cassie's family's house. Late-season action in early-season! Also, Tay looks for some artistic advice from Ruben.
90210 (CW, 8 PM): I had assumed that the alumni cast members had little purpose other than serving as easy conversation pieces for older (i.e. me) entertainment writers, and would be making little more than cameo appearances. But the latest episode in the ages-old Brenda/Kelly war is the key event tonight. Ian Ziering should be showing up with his grandkids any week now. Also tonight, Annie accepts a date with Ethan, and DIxon gets a job.
Big Brother 10 (CBS, 9 PM): A ninth summer and tenth season of thrills and tedium (anyone's guess which was more common?) comes to an end with the entire menagerie of houseguests reunited, and the announcement of the winner: either "mixologist" (gag) "Memphis" (double gag), or earnest volume-control challenged teacher/coach Dan. I don't think there's a wrong choice here; both men were early targets, but both then took separate paths to success.
Fringe (Fox, 9 PM): I guess this is what fringe science is all about: the partners look into the case of a woman who gave birth to a baby within hours of conceiving -- a baby that then advanced to old age within a matter of minutes. It's standalone episodes like this one which will determine whether Fringe has real long-run potential.
Greek (ABC Family, 9 PM): Casey takes an interest in Max; Cappie is concerned that Rusty might uncover a secret of the frat; Calvin expands his horizons with a trip to a gay bar.
Privileged (CW, 9 PM): Megan gets invited to a major social event and doesn't acknowledge her sister when it is pointed out she is not appropriately dressed; Rose sees her ex at the gala with a new girl; Megan comes to the rescue when the girls are caught driving without a license.
From G's To Gents (MTV, 10 PM) The series finale finds Bentley picking a winner from among the final three now ex-G's. MTV isn't known for encouraging adult behavior, but this show seems to have developed a nice little cult, and I would expect a second edition.
Rachel Zoe Project (Bravo, 10 PM): Rachel has a limited window to find the right gown for Debra Messing to wear to the SAG awards (Debra Messing was invited to the SAG Awards?); Rachel has a flood in her workplace. The Botox vat must have exploded.
The Cleaner (A&E, 10 PM): It was around this time last year that ex-Grey's Anatomy hothead Isaiah Washington showed up on The Bionic Woman, which then proceeded to go the way of President Guiliani. Undaunted, the producers of The Cleaner invited Washington to put in an appearance this week, playing an interventionist who gets upset when William takes on a relapsed client of his.
The Shield (FX, 10 PM): Vic continues in his efforts to make himself useful to the Armenians; Tina goes after a smut peddler; Corinne deals with a new legal issue.